Intense flooding continues, still leaving Montana in a state of emergency. While those waters leave many homes in danger, they also can leave your health at risk. Residents in flood zones are scrambling to salvage their homes, but you should also be aware of the cesspool of bacteria these flood waters create and can easily make you ill.
Flood waters are contaminated with chemicals, pesticides, animal waste and sewage. All of these germs can contaminate your food and clean water supply if the right safety measures aren't taken. Infested flood water can leak through septic tanks, entering you home through plumbing, and come in contact with food that isn't airtight sealed. Lewis and Clark Public Health have released several notices telling people how they can remain vigilant and healthy in the filthy floods, even if your home isn't flooded. Frank Preskar from Lewis and Clark Public Health says, "The drain field and the septic tank can be located a fair distance from the home itself so it is possible the home can be high and dry but if there are flood waters in the immediate area it could be affecting your drain field or septic tank."
Homeowners in flood zones should check their septic tanks to ensure they aren't backed up with sewage. If you suspect your tank has been damaged called a professional to take a look. Disinfect any food, drinks, and other household items that may have come in contact with flood water. When in doubt Public Health says to throw it out.
Below is a complete guide of information for health safety during the floods released by Lewis and Clark Public Health.